The past few weeks I have been pondering patience, which does not come naturally to me. I sometimes feel and act like Veruka Salt. I want the squirrel (or the goose, depending on the book or movie version), and I want it now. Having climbed the partnership ladder in law and successfully run two of my own businesses, I can try to fight it, but deep down I know that patience is required.
Business and professional growth do not happen solely and immediately on demand. Sometimes it feels that way – a potential new client contacts you “out of the blue.” Your boss exclaims in front of her boss, “This is the person I told you about – she contributes so much to this team!” Someone you meet at a fundraiser decides your service is the perfect fit for their organization.
“Wow!” you think. I cannot believe that happened so quickly and easily.
Let’s unpack that for a moment because you created these results based actions you took weeks, months, or even years ago. The potential new client materialized through a referral or finding your website or a review on a social media feed. Your boss’s compliment arose from the work you completed, the comment you made during the meeting, the solution you came up with, etc. And the person you met at the fundraiser asked for your services because you knew to engage someone in conversation and how to explain what it is you do.
Advancing your career and growing your business took time. You may want “it” now and sometimes “getting it” feels like you spontaneously captured the squirrel (or goose). But growth is often more like going down the trash shoot to the incinerator, climbing back out, and heading back to the room that houses the squirrels and geese. It happens through trial and error, through “Not at this time” replies, and through developing relationships with clients. So, whether you have patience or not, patience remains required.
When you find yourself speeding down the trash shoot or, even worse, in the incinerator, embrace patience. Trust that eventually, you will get the results you want – the skid marks and burns will fade, you’ll develop the know-how and strength to climb out and up, and sometimes, in the midst of the fire, you will discover the nut or golden egg that escaped down the shoot with you.
And, when you hear yourself saying, “Wow! That was easy,” remember the time and effort you took to create the result.